MEDITATION OF THE DAY
The Gospel of Life
The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message. Lovingly received day after day by the Church, it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as good news to the people of every age and culture. At the dawn of salvation, it is the birth of a Child which is proclaimed as joyful news: I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The source of this great joy is the birth of the Savior; but Christmas also reveals the full meaning of every human birth, and the joy which accompanies the birth of the Messiah is thus seen to be the foundation and fulfillment of joy at every child born into the world.
When he presents the heart of his redemptive mission, Jesus says: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. In truth, he is referring to that new and eternal life which consists in communion with the Father, to which every person is freely called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying Spirit. It is precisely in this life that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their full significance.
Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. Life in time…is a process which, unexpectedly and undeservedly, is enlightened by the promise and renewed by the gift of divine life, which will reach its full realization in eternity…. Even so, life on earth remains a sacred reality entrusted to us, to be preserved with a sense of responsibility and brought to perfection in love and in the gift of ourselves to God and to our brothers and sisters…. In a special way, believers in Christ must defend and promote this right, aware as they are of the wonderful truth recalled by the Second Vatican Council: “By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being.” This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son, but also the incomparable value of every human person. The Church, faithfully contemplating the mystery of the Redemption, acknowledges this value with ever new wonder. She feels called to proclaim to the people of all times this Gospel, the source of invincible hope and true joy for every period of history. The Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.
Saint John Paul II
Saint John Paul II († 2005) reigned as pope from 1978 until 2005. / From Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae. Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s Square, March 25, 1995. Used with permission of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. www.vatican.va.